As I’ve navigated the waters of New Mexico, or the dry high desert as the case may be, I’ve been blessed by God’s faithful encouragement to me in the area of relationships. He also reminded me of how my choosing to behave purposefully ended up blessing me in a way I never expected this past year.
He led me to work on intentional friendships with two groups of women.
The first group was some friends that have been my friends for more than twenty years. We have been blessed to live near each other for almost eighteen of those years. BUT… I realized a year ago that we didn’t see each other often, depending on kids’ birthdays, our birthdays, or other big events to see each other. I decided that wasn’t enough.
The other group was young women at my church, some married, some single, some moms.
A monthly gathering was established. The first, we agreed to a different night every month to go to dinner (and maybe an adventure), sans kids. The second, I hosted a girls’ night at my home where they were invited to just join in fellowship.
I knew these times together would be worth it.
For my first group of lifelong friends, I wanted us to be more intentional in our friendships, making the time for one another and choosing to prioritize one anothe.
For my second group, I wanted to get to really know them in a way that was casual and opening, allowing us to have conversations that blessed one another. I provided the place and the snacks (snacks are always fun!) and usually a brief topic we could talk about at some point in the evening. It was originally going to be a game night, but we never got around to the game because we just wanted to visit.
It blessed me tremendously. Seriously. Can not express how much these intentional gatherings touched my heart.
We were able to share, connect, and just be. While the media often tries to tell us that quality time is what connects one person to another, research is showing that it’s actually quantity time.
I never would have dreamed that a year later, I would be leaving those precious women.
While I miss them all like crazy, I’m so grateful that I followed the Lord’s leading and made time for these them and they for me. I can only imagine the regret I would have felt leaving with the idea safely tucked in my head instead of acted upon.
The same intentional behavior applies to all the friendships in life. Relationships take work. They don’t usually just happen. A person has to make effort. Most of the time, I am happy to do this kind of thing because I am an extrovert and I will crater if I can not spend time with people, but everyone knows that when others put effort forth too then you feel loved.
If you have some women in your life that you like, enjoy and would like to know, I challenge you to be intentional in developing a friendship with each of them. It may mean that you have to step out of your comfort zone in faith. I’m not saying that you should start your own group or even work on a friendship with every woman in your life because that’s not possible. I humbly suggest that you consider intentionally spending time with some women.
While I am an extrovert, I’m an extrovert that likes to spend time with people she already knows. I get a very tight feeling inside when I have to socialize with unfamiliar people. Seriously.
So, inviting that second group of women was an act of faith for me and I was nervous the first few times. I knew that it was the best way to get to know them and invest in them as an older woman though, so I pushed my discomfort aside (and maybe ate chocolate too!).
Intentional friendships … do them! You and your friend will be blessed. I promise.
Have you experienced an intentional friendship and reaped the rewards?